The "no makeup" makeup trend sounds freeing—but in fact, it still puts pressure on women to be perfect.

By Stephanie Harris
Updated June 12, 2018
makeup brushes

I don't wear a full face of makeup very often—partly because I'm lazy in the morning, but also because of the current beauty culture. As a young woman, I’m constantly bombarded with the latest fashion and beauty trends, and lately, the "no makeup" makeup look is in. The emphasis on natural beauty would be a step in the right direction, if only it were actually natural and didn't just look that way.

In fact, most of the "no makeup" makeup routines I’ve seen require just as many products as any fully made-up look. Basic makeup may be in style, but the standard of impossibly flawless skin, bright eyes, and high cheekbones is still unwavering.

When will it finally be chic to bare our true selves—complete with freckles, scars, wrinkles, and remnants of that last pesky pimple? We are told to appear to be confident, carefree, and untroubled by our imperfections instead of genuinely being all of those things. The "no makeup" makeup trend isn't causing women to wear less makeup because the expectation of perfection hasn't changed—in fact, it's gotten more complicated. Our faces are supposed to be smooth, but not cakey; dewey, but not shiny; and, most importantly, flawless, without being overdone.

In reality, the ideal "no makeup" look shouldn’t require any products or tutorials; it should just be you. The natural beauty craze isn’t just for those with unblemished skin or bagless under-eyes—it’s for all of us who are brave enough to reveal ourselves, flaws and all. Whatever your morning routine may be, know that you were beautiful before the primers, tinted moisturizers, contour palettes, and eyebrow pencils; and know that makeup should ultimately be a choice, not a requirement.